Monthly Musings-October 2017

I don’t know about you guys, but as far as I’m concerned October is one of the best overall months to travel almost anywhere. Northern destinations are ablaze in fall color, warmer areas trade summer’s oppressive heat for glorious sunshine filled days and spring returns to the southern hemisphere. Coupled with the fact that flight and hotel costs are lower than peak season summer and holiday prices it would be a shame not to travel in October. If you’ve been following me on Instagram and Facebook (and you definitely should be) then you already know I spent the first half of October on the road, and while I had a jam packed itinerary in two countries on two different continents I loved every crazy minute of it.

Sintra, Portugal-Monthly Musings:October 2017This post contains affiliate links, when you make a purchase or book a hotel through these links the Casual Travelist receives a small commission that helps support this site at no additional cost to you.

Because of Steve’s obsession with visiting Portugal solely to try pastel de nata, the famous Portuguese custard tarts, (an obsession that was well founded by the way) we already were planning a trip to Portugal when I got an offer to stay at Kasbah du Toukbal in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains. I’d been wanting to stay at the Kasbah for years so when this opportunity came up I knew I had to make it work. I came up with an itinerary for 10 days in two countries that involved 6 different flights and very little unscheduled time. With the chaos of Marrakech and the relaxed nature of Portugal, there were a lot of places where one bump or hiccup could have ruined the entire trip, but the planets aligned and the travel gods smiled down on us.  99% of the trip went without a hitch (and we all know how rarely that happens). In both Morocco and Portugal I had planned activities that alone would be a highlight but collectively made this one of the best trips I’ve ever had.

I’ll go into a lot more detail in the coming weeks on my experiences in both Morocco and Portugal but for now I’ll give you a quick Cliff Notes version of the highlights.

Staying at Riad Farnatchi

As far as I’m concerned staying at a riad(a traditional home built around a courtyard) in the Medina is as quintessential to a visit to Marrakech as drinking mint tea and haggling for a Moroccan carpet. We stayed at Riad Farnatchi and it is one of the most beautifully designed boutique properties I’ve ever stayed at.

 

Riad Farnatchi in Marrakech, Morocco-Monthly Musings:October 2017

Riad Farnatchi in Marrakech, Morocco-Monthly Musings:October 2017

 

Buying a Moroccan Rug

We didn’t intend to buy a rug but it just kind of happened. Plied with a few glasses of Moroccan mint tea Steve and I simultaneously fell in love with the geometric designs and quality of the Berber rugs handmade by women living in the Atlas Mountains.

Buying a rug in Marrakech-Monthly Musings:October 2017

I ate a sheep eyeball

On a tour with Marrakech Food Tours I was offered the peeper from a whole-roasted sheep. I totally ate it for the bragging rights but was surprised that it was actually tasty with no weird texture.

Eating a sheep eyeball with Marrakech Food Tours-Monthly Musings:October 2017

Hiking in the remote Atlas Mountains

I opted to do a lodge to lodge trek in the Atlas Mountains with Kasbah du Toukbal and I witnessed a way of life I didn’t know existed in one of the most stunning, but unforgiving landscapes on the planet.

Trekking in the Atlas Mountains with Kasbah du Toukbal--Monthly Musings:October 2017 Trekking in the Atlas Mountains with Kasbah du Toukbal--Monthly Musings:October 2017 Trekking in the Atlas Mountains with Kasbah du Toukbal--Monthly Musings:October 2017

Walking Lisbon’s famously hilly streets

No matter where you’re going in Lisbon you will be going up hill 99% of the time

Lisbon, Portugal-Trekking in the Atlas Mountains with Kasbah du Toukbal--Monthly Musings:October 2017Lisbon, Portugal-Trekking in the Atlas Mountains with Kasbah du Toukbal--Monthly Musings:October 2017

Getting Vacation Pics in Alfama

Met up with Localgrapher photographer Daniella in which she snapped pics of Steve and I staring at each other lovingly while we stood in random doorways.

Localgrapher photoshoot in Lisbon, Portugal-Monthly Musings:October 2017Localgrapher photoshoot in Lisbon, Portugal-Monthly Musings:October 2017 Localgrapher photoshoot in Lisbon, Portugal-Monthly Musings:October 2017 Localgrapher photoshoot in Lisbon, Portugal-Monthly Musings:October 2017

Eating Pastel de Nata

These little custard tarts are completely worth the flight to Lisbon. We ate them at every possible opportunity and I’m currently going through withdrawal.

Eating pastel de nata in Lisbon, Portugal-Monthly Musings:October 2017

Discovering the charming seaside town of Cascais.

Booked a couple days here as an international medical convention had hotel rooms booked up in Lisbon and started planning on buying property here within 10 minutes of arriving. Cascais was just so stinking pretty.

Cascais, Portugal-Monthly Musings:October 2017

Visiting the castles at Sintra

Even more amazing in person.

Sintra, Portugal-Monthly Musings:October 2017 Sintra, Portugal-Monthly Musings:October 2017

Sintra, Portugal-Monthly Musings:October 2017

 

Things I’m loving

These TOMS Jutti flats were perfect for walking the streets of Lisbon and Marrakech, the perfect combination of cute and comfy.

For hiking pants that don’t look like hiking pants check out the Halle by Prana

My girl Kristin at Camels and Chocolate has me wanting to book a ticket to Sweden stat.

Make this pumpkin maple granola from the Minimalist Baker and thank me later.

How was your October? Did you travel anywhere amazing or enjoy autumn activities at home?

4 Comments on “Monthly Musings-October 2017

  1. I am obsessed with the pastel de nata as well, I have been writing a story off and on since my trip last year, it not only taste amazing, but has a travel-related story in its history, I hope to finish my article soon, I think you would enjoy it. Big question, would you eat the eyeball again!

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